Godfrey Memorial Conservation Area
It’s been our privilege to get to know Daphne Godfrey and work with her to conserve her beloved fields and forests in Lyman. We were very pleased to be introduced to Daphne through the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, who referred Daphne to us. One of her neighbors had conserved her land, and Daphne wanted to do the same.
Daphne proudly notes that she was born on the 45th Parallel, in Clarksville. She attributes her land ethic and love of wildlife with her father, Harry Hurlbert, a famed North Country game warden and guide. To be a good steward and caretaker of the land was “what you were supposed to do,” she says. “Conservation was always in our mind with Dad.”
Daphne and her late husband, George, bought the 160-acre former dairy farm in the 1960s. “We were gone 25 years after World War II, and I missed my mountains when we worked in Ohio,” Godfrey explains. She and George met at UNH, when she was studying to become a teacher and he was getting his doctorate in poultry genetics. They moved to the Midwest for his work, and always longed to get back to New Hampshire.
They found the perfect spot: a hill farm in Lyman with stunning views of the White Mountains, open fields, a surrounding woodlot, and plenty of wildlife. There was even a goldmine. The former Dodge Mine was one of the most active in the 19th century heyday of the Ammonoosuc Gold District. Today the forest has reclaimed the area, making it tricky to find. But a century ago, it was crawling with activity.
Four generations of Godfreys now enjoy the farm. Daphne was careful in planning her conservation agreement with ACT to provide for a site on which her daughters or grandchildren may build their own house. This summer, she anticipates that her grandson Scott, who lives in New Mexico, will visit with his family, and that they will learn about caring for the forest through a careful timber harvest.
In addition, the Godfrey Memorial Conservation Area provides critical habitat for bats, which hibernate in caves not far from the property. Along with the Gardner Mountain easement, and the Pettyboro Farm Conservation Area, over 1,500 acres in Lyman are now permanently protected with ACT and provide key wildlife habitat, working forest land, and future productive agricultural land.